EP President Martin Schulz travelled today to the Greek island of Lesbos in order to visit a refugee registration and identification centre where almost 2,500 people are recorded on a daily basis. Speaking at the so-called hotspot at Moria, he said: "We must urgently reinforce efforts to complete hotspots. To be effective, however, all member states must take part in the relocation." While in Greece the President also visited Athens for the first relocation of refugees from Greece to Luxembourg.
While on an official two-day trip to Greece this week, European Parliament President Martin Schulz had the opportunity to visit a refugee reception centre on the Greek island of Lesbos. The Aegean island has become an important entry point for refugees due to its close proximity to Turkey. During his visit to Lesbos with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the President was able to assess first-hand the refugee and migration situation on the ground. Speaking from the refugee "hotspot" of Moria, he said: "I witnessed the work being done by the Greek government and the intense commitment of European and international agencies and NGOs in dealing in the most humane and efficient way with those who arrive."
On Wednesday 4 November Schulz and Tsipras joined Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and the Luxembourgish Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn to witness the first relocation of refugees from Greece to Luxembourg. Speaking at Athens airport, he noted: "This is first and foremost a crisis of refugees, people who are really running for their lives." He described the relocation as a first step, and added that all member states must make their reception capacity known to the relocation scheme.
Over 600,000 people have entered the EU through Greece so far this year, with most fleeing from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea. Parliament gave its backing in September to the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece, Hungary and Italy to other EU member states.